Mayor: Redevelopment funds needed for city projects

Carson City supervisors should take $2 million now scheduled to go to downtown and south side redevelopment and give it to city departments for needed construction projects, according to Mayor Marv Teixeira.

The city gave a developer $2 million last year to bring in Burlington Coat Factory and make it successful, but the money came from the city's main source, the general fund, and not the redevelopment fund.

Teixeira said the city needs to replenish the fund by diverting money scheduled to go redevelopment coming from businesses including Bodines Casino, Casino Fandango and Carson Tahoe Specialty Medical Center and use it for work that could include a pond in Fuji Park because these projects have been hurt by the slow economy.

Supervisors will vote on Teixeira's plan at their meeting Thursday.

A slow economy has hurt the city's sales tax collection, Teixeira said, and the temporary diversion of money " $250,000 annually over eight years " is a way for the city to manage its needs responsibly.

The most recent sales tax report from the state showed an approximately 20 percent drop from June 2007 to June 2008 in Carson City sales taxes, a revenue that makes up more than a third of the city's general fund.

Teixeira voted for the grant for Burlington even though he thought it was "overkill" because the city had to move quickly to fill the former Wal-Mart building that had been empty six years, he said.

The best way to handle the plan if the board approves it, said City Manager Larry Werner, is to look at the budget each year to see if it's possible.

"If the moneys are there, then it's not a problem," he said. "If the money's not there, we'll see how it shakes out."

The redevelopment fund is made up of property taxes taken from the city's downtown and south side redevelopment areas. The fund has about $1.3 million this year.

Supervisor Robin Williamson, head of the city's redevelopment commission, said she wants to talk about the mayor's plan at the meeting, but is already skeptical about whether it is the best use of the money.

Also, Burlington is scheduled to generate about $300,000 a year in sales taxes for the general fund, she said, which wouldn't have been possible without the incentive the city used to bring in the retail store.

- Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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